TMG Micro Games.

Greetings All,

Today I want to talk about two Micro Games from Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG). These games were both $5, which is a deal I couldn’t pass up. The two games we will be talking about are: Coin Age & This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us. For this post I asked my husband for help as he likes Coin Age much more than I do. I will put my husband’s words in bold writing for ease and identification purposes.


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-Coin Age by TMG-
2 players, up to 15 mins
For this TMG centric post, my Wife has asked me to highlight a micro game (that I’m most fond of), Coin Age! 
 
Let’s begin by explaining the basic rules, components, game play, et cetera.  Alright, so the game is a 2 player, area control/management game that lasts roughly 10 minutes per play through.  It may not sound like it, but this game has a very good amount of depth for both it’s size AND price ($5!).  So, the game is played on roughly credit card sized maps with several zones that are separated by topographic marks and those zones are then grouped by color.  The maps themselves are nothing special, beyond rather nice presentation and funny puns found throughout (on one map, a particular zone is a body of water named the “Sea O’ Aye Enn”…GET IT!?!?! XD)…if not readily apparent, I LOVE puns, especially the “so bad it’s good” variety. 
Okay, those are your game boards, now the actual game pieces you’ll be playing with are actual coins (shocking, I know), or if you purchased the game from TMG, double-sided cardboard coins.  Each coin has a set amount of coins with different amounts of corresponding points.  For instance, each player starts with 1 quarter (4 points), 2 nickels (3 points), 3 pennies (2 points), and 4 dimes (1 point).  With each coin being double-sided (heads/tails) one player would choose one suit and the remaining suit goes to the second player. 
Now, the whole point of this game is to control different areas for the maximum amount points, but it’s not as simple as all of that, this game has a great luck/strategy ratio.  Gameplay goes like this: You pick up 1 coin of each type you have left, you shake them up and smack them on the table you’re playing on, and depending upon what suits all of the coins you smacked down are facing (your’s, or your opponents), you get to take certain actions that all center around you placing coins on the map.  Sounds simple, no?  Ask my Wife (don’t actually, she’s flies into a bitter rage whenever you do), it isn’t.  For every coin you place, your opponent can potentially move it (altering points/bonuses at the end of the game), cover it (thus making it’s placement moot), or take it altogether (y’know…’cause people are jerks.)  After either one person uses all of their coins, or all areas of the map are covered, the game ends and points are tallied.  See, simple, rules light, friendship destroying game.
 
Now that we got the more technical (see: “boring”) part of this assessment out of the way, let’s move onto my impression/review.  Put simply, this game is friggin’ awesome.  It’s charming as all h*ll, people.  Remarkably simple design, coupled with a nice n’ clear rulebook and being riddled with puns…it’s great.  It’s also very mobile.  This is a fantastic game to play on the go, I openly admit to having a copy in backpack everyday at work (along with a couple of other games I’d like to write about later *cough cough*) that gets a lot of mileage on it.  And, it’s REALLY CHEAP.  Guys, with shipping, this game cost me around 7-8 bucks.  I am quite frugal (see: “cheap”) and love when I can get such bang for my buck.  This game kick started an obsession with micro games that has yet to relent, and I couldn’t be happier about it!  It’s great for all walks of life, or gamers or even non-gamers (the poor lost souls that they are) alike.  And it’s one of those games you can “trick” people into playing with you.  You could present it as a “press your luck” style dice variant game, or a light strategy/area control style game, just gotta know your audience.  Needless to say, I’m rather fond of this title.  So, go out and buy it already!
I swear his reviews are better than mine! 🙂 Anyhow, there is a print and play available in case you’d like to try it for free before buying the hard copy, which is available on the TMG website. The hard copy comes with a wallet card for on the go play. The wallet card and an additional pocket mod is also available for print and play. There’s also a free tuck box available.

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-This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us, by TMG-
2-4 players, 10-15 mins

This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of us is a really fun tile placement game, that we shall now refer to as “This Town” due to the long name. This Town is like a micro Carcassonne.

It all starts with placing the Claim Office, which is going to be the games starting tile and can never be rotated or moved. Each player then takes turns drawing a random tile and placing it in order to acquire points. The way that you acquire points is by matching symbols in closed corrals. There are four symbols or brands as the rule book calls them. Every two symbols equals one point once you finish a corral. When you complete corrals, if other player symbols are in it, the other players also get points which means you have to be crafty to ensure you don’t let your competition get too far ahead of you.

If you finish a tile that contains a silver bar, you con move another tile that IS NOT part of a completed corral, the silver bars are a huge game changer and can make or break a score.
There is a score board included. If someone ties for first place, the tie breaker becomes whomever has the most symbols in a single corral.
I adore this game, I find it to be adorable and fast. I completely recommend this game as a starter for board game nights. As I mentioned earlier, this is like a micro Carcassonne. Regretfully I have not played the physical game Carcassonne (I will eventually), but I have played the digital version and found it quite fun!
There is a print and play available in case you’d like to try it for free before buying the hard copy, which is available on the TMG website. There are also score boards available for free to print.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I sincerely hope you go check out these games, they are very much so worth it. If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.

 

-livingbytheboard

Recruiting New Gamers

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Greetings All,

This is one I still struggle with. My husband, however, is much better at than I am, which is why I asked him to co-write this one with me. I’m fairly certain that half of the ability to convince people to try board games has to do with charming them. My husband is by the far the most charming person I know so he has a very easy time getting people on his side. Please read more below to get his take on recruiting new gamers. Enjoy. 🙂


-Husband-

To recruit new gamers, you need to at least have a vague idea who you’re playing with. This makes it way easier to potentially draw anyone from the hardened gamer to the total neophyte.

Know someone who’s never played board games, but loves video games? Too easy! Suggest an analogue of a favorite game of their’s! “You like Starcraft? How about showing me your strategic prowess in a quick game of OGRE?” Know someone who likes casual cell phone games? Too easy! “Something quick, easy and fun? How about you lend me 10 minutes of your time and play some Coin Age or Brave Rats with me?” How about a non-competitive type who just wants to have fun? “How’s about a co-operative game then? We can save OUR castle together!” I’ve found that far and away the easiest way to get people to game (in any situation) is to tailor your approach, almost like you’re trying to sell gaming as a product. “Man, have you ever heard of a game called Disc Duelers? It’s like a super open game of RPG battle pogs!!!” “Dude, Zombie Dice is like zombie Yahtzee…y’know, except without being schooled by old people.” I jest, of course! Or my general use line: “Can I borrow five minutes of your life? I’ll repay it 100 fold in entertainment!”

BATTLE POGS

If you do manage to secure someone for game night, its almost equitable to catching a fish on a hook… now you just have to reel them in! And how do you do that? You whip out the AAA titles from your game shelf! I am a thorough believer in “palate cleaner” or “feeler” games. By which, I mean shorter games that will better help you understand the temperature of the table. Did your table of new invites enjoy the rule light, rapid play game? Or the slower, more complicated/methodical game? These are important things to know about your guests to insure the success of your evening as well as potentially insuring the return of your guests.

Great “feeler games” I personally use are:

Love Letter by AEG

2-4 players (we’ve played w/ 5), 10-20 mins

Love Letter is easily one of the biggest, quickest crowd pleasers I own. Easy to learn rules, quick gameplay, and a friendlier competitive structure. Hard to go wrong with this one.


This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The 2-4 Of Us by TMG

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 10-15 mins

This game shares a lot of elements with Carcassonne. Fantastic simplicity coupled with a hidden level of complexity make this an easy way to spot the more thoughtful members attending your table.


We Didn’t Playtest This At All by Asmadi

2-15 players, 1-5 mins

This is a card game that is so absurd, it’s divisive. It’ll either be an instant favorite, or an eye roller. Great way to sift through senses of humor, or lack thereof.

Fantasy by Asmodee

2-4 players (we’ve played with 5), 20-30 mins

Fantasy is a slightly longer card game with (somewhat) simple rules, and a nice (you guessed it!) fantasy motif that keeps players in the game until the last card is dealt and the scores are tallied. A great game to help your table rev up for a tougher, longer game.


Now, let’s get to real meat and potatoes of all of this. The AAA crowd pleasers that turn these new acquaintances into fast friends:

Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

2-5 players, 30-60 mins

If you’re visiting this blog, odds are you’ve AT LEAST heard about this game…or I’m actively judging you and your life decisions. 🙂 Needless to say, few board games can truly pull in veterans and neophytes alike. It’s got a great, turn of the 20th century aesthetic, profoundly easy to understand rules, and utterly FANTASTIC gameplay. I can’t opine about this game enough!


Castle Panic by Fireside Games

1-6 players, 30-60 mins

I’ll be frank with you readers, this is my personal favorite game of all time. Published by Fireside Games, this is a co-operative “tower defense” style game. This game is a remarkable bonding experience for all involved! It’s you and your team struggling against a common foe, you’re all left with little more than randomly drawn cards and your wits! Fantastic for game nights!


Puerto Rico by Rio Grande Games

3-5 players (there is a 2 player variant), 90 mins

This one is quite a bit more complicated than the previous entries on this list. Puerto Rico is a “prosperity” simulator, in essence, this game tasks you with being able to expand your city and island faster (and more efficiently) than your opponents. There is a very little luck to strategy ratio for this game, so veteran gamers are likely dominate during the first play through with neophytes. This game is equipped with no “actual” game board to play on, but is managed through individual’s city boards and a PLETHORA of smaller game pieces, so this game does require a little bit of imagination. That said, this is a 90 minute game with a HIGH amount of strategy and lateral thinking…so this game isn’t for everyone. HOWEVER, I HIGHLY recommend this for every kind of gamer…at least to try once.

Variety is the spice of life, however, most people will be more inclined to try a new dish if it looks more appetizing. Bottom line, presentation AND substance are both CRITICAL in your approach to gaining new members of your table. Just play your experience by ear, and try to cater to everyone’s tastes without compromising anyone’s. And, above all else, MAKE SURE TO HAVE FUN!


I’ll have to have him co-write more often… I’m pretty sure he blew me out of the water! 🙂 Anyhow, his description was shockingly accurate to how our “gaming interviews” go. When I say gaming interviews it is exactly what it sounds like, we’ve even told people they were essentially being interviewed to be a regular at our table.

We both hope you enjoyed this topic, as it was readers choice. Soon I will be starting another three-day segment, this time regarding solo play games. Until next time… Live by the Board.

-livingbytheboard